Transportation employment increased more than 2 percent year-over-year in October, with rail employment up 3.8 percent and trucking up 2.9 percent.
The annualized increases in transportation employment came as the U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Transportation industries added about 16,500 employees in October, the seasonally adjusted BLS data indicate, a big increase over the 2,500 jobs added in September. Over the past year, payroll employment has increased an average of 125,000 jobs a month, but the national unemployment rate remains 9 percent, the BLS said.
The jobless rate has held in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent since April, BLS Commissioner Keith Hall said Friday, with 13.9 million unemployed in October. The average hourly earnings of all non-farm employees rose 5 cents in October to $23.19 an hour. Over the past year, average hourly earnings rose 1.8 percent.
In transportation, for-hire trucking gained the most jobs, adding 3,100 employees since September and 36,600 over the last twelve months, BLS data show. For-hire trucking employment dropped in August from July but rose in preliminary seasonally adjusted figures the BLS released for September and October.
The rail industry added 500 jobs from September and 3,100 jobs from a year ago, while aviation jobs were flat from September and up 2.4 percent from a year ago. Waterborne transportation employment in the U.S. rose 1.9 percent year-over-year and 1.1 percent from September to 64.7 million people, the BLS data show.
Although the BLS data may not reflect total payroll head count for each industry, the agency’s sampling of employers is large enough to establish employment trends. In for-hire trucking, for example, the Labor Department bureau tracks payroll numbers at more than 110,000 trucking operations.